The Wizard of Grimmers Wharf by GJ Scherzinger is a fantasy about Padison, who was once Pacolorius, a bright upcoming wizard in a mystical order known as the Greycloaks when a rival fearing his power had him kidnapped and locked away. A fortuitous event frees him from his prison and onto the sea. Since that time, he’s made a quiet life for himself in Grimmers Wharf, until one night, he finds a mysterious woman on the water clinging to life. Padison now not only has to help the woman regain her memories but keep her away from those who would cause her harm. As her secrets come to life, he may find the key to exacting revenge on his old foe.
Scherzinger paints an alluring picture of this world and beyond. He captures this seaside town in whimsical descriptions. Even the realms of mind and spirit are beautifully written, giving readers a vivid image in their minds. In addition, there are some colorful characters that readers will be instantly drawn to that provide the storyline an enjoyable twist, such as Sallen. She is a forceful but loving woman who runs the local eatery that Padison lives above and who aids in keeping the girl’s pursuers at bay.
This engaging book presented a thrilling mystery from the opening pages. There is no slow build-up before our main character is thrown headfirst into the action. Instead, it was expertly communicated and hooked readers to the end. I also like that we get into the heads of not only one of the villains but a lackey as well; these multiple points of view give readers the full story from all sides. Unfortunately, the woman’s attempted killer is kept in the shadows, and readers are left waiting for the reveal till the end.
There were a couple instances where the speaker would say there’s a character coming this way, only to have the fact reiterated in the description of the scene. I felt this made for a repetitive read at times. Nevertheless, this original book is a fun escapade into the fantastic world of Terranova. It has an intriguing mystery with themes of betrayal, politics, and reclaiming your life after darkness. I would recommend this to anybody who wants to be absorbed in an engrossing fantasy adventure.
Pages: 286 | ASIN : B0B672XY87
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The Masque of Count Milado follows a man from Earth who sets off on a quest to retrieve the missing masque before it goes missing forever. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I wanted to reprise characters introduced in “The House on Chambers Court”, though the challenge I set for myself was to write a traditional murder mystery. This book was an attempt to do that, and of course it’s a lot harder than it seems, the challenges of exposing the clues to both the characters and the reader in such a way as to move the story and keep everyone guessing.
Did you create an outline for the characters in the story before you started writing or did the characters personalities grow organically as you were writing?
Many of the characters in my book are based on people I know personally or in the public eye. Villains are easy to spot in the political and corporate spectrum. At least that is the root of their creation. It gives me a ‘face’ to work from, though once the book is under way, they really take on their own personalities.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Each book I write represents a particular challenge for me, in this case writing a murder mystery. I don’t want my books to be carbon copies of each other, though some themes run through each. A subtle part of the book is taking on animal perspectives and how they may be different from our own. Add to that, Xavier Gaines is faced with an additional perspective, the differences between men and women. Empathy is an important element of the magic involved.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
“The Wizard of Grimmer’s Wharf” has just been released (another mystery) and I’m well into the next book, “The Rift of Brande”. I’ve a great deal of experience sailing and so I wanted to write a ‘sea story’ involving adventure and lost treasure. I’ve reprised characters introduced in “Grimmer’s Wharf” and “The Henna Witch”. It looks to be a bigger book, perhaps rivaling “The Deck of the Numinon” in size. Of course magic is involved, which is also a great way to introduce some metaphysics into the story. Speaking of “the Deck of the Numinon”, which is wonderfully illustrated, I’m working with the artist to create an entire deck, providing the guide book to supplement her work. Fundamental excerpts were included as an addendum in “the Deck of the Numinon”. With a little perseverance on my part, both will be ready by the end of ’23.
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The Masque of Count Milado by GJ Scherzinger is a fantasy mystery centered around a powerful masque thought to be long lost. Xavier Gaines, a man from Earth who found his way to the magical world of Terranovae, has been asked by a friend to use his magical and physical abilities to retrieve this mask from Count Milado, who has acquired it. So Xavier sets off to infiltrate the count’s court with his wife and daughter in tow. Shortly after arriving, the count is found mysteriously dead, and the race is on to locate the missing masque before it’s lost forever.
This was a fantastic story. This world had excellent story building. There was some nicely done backstory that really brought the characters to life and made them richer. The magic was beautifully described. I love how each transformed state was kind of its own being and not the magic user in just a different form. They each had their own personality and were treated as such, complete with different pronouns. There was a beautiful mystery that I wanted to solve. There were twists I wasn’t expecting that kept me guessing how the story would play out. I got excited when things were revealed to me, making the story more engrossing. This kept me reading on, captivated.
The beginning has a slow burn as things get set up but really picked up as the plot progresses. I felt that it was redundant that every time Xavier became a tiger, the beast was described to us. Seeing as how it was the same tiger each time, I feel the initial description was enough to give us a clear picture of what it would look like from then on.
The Masque of Count Milado is a fascinating new fantasy novel with mythology and folklore elements. A world filled with magic, mystery, and mischief to keep readers engaged. I definitely want to read more of this world.
Pages: 267 | ASIN : B0B1P9YDW3
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The House on Chambers Court follows a corporate spy who’s forced to steal a special book in a magical but dangerous land. What were some sources that informed this novels development?
I challenge myself with each book. In the case of “The House on Chambers Court” I wanted to write a ‘caper’ novel, but within a Fantasy setting. That was the core of the book and the story evolved from there. More than any other book I’ve written, it evolved with the writing, a lot of the characters and circumstances appearing rather than planned. The secret is to write what one knows, and I’ve years of experience in martial arts, and include rock climbing as part of my past endeavors. I was living in Mexico during the writing. As I was a 6’4″ red-headed Gringo, there was no way I was ever going to blend in, and I thought it made for an odd counterpoint for a ‘spy’. I also love the intelligence inherent in the animal kingdom and all of my books give them some kind of inclusion.
This seemed like a fun book to write. What scene did you have the most fun writing?
It was fun throughout, as I really felt like I was trying to keep up with the characters rather than leading them on. The whole instance of them stealing all of the horses instead of just the one was a prime example. I live on a farm now, and horses have their own heads. It was obvious when I started writing the scene that, like the horses, it was going to get away from me and yet it provided the opportunity for the packet to fall in their hands. The interactions between Xavier and Kendra were fun to write as well. Their conversations really fell out of me easily, two people who genuinely liked each other.
What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this novel?
The idea of writing of shapeshifting really started listening to a recent album by Santana called ‘Shapeshifter’. I was blissfully unaware of the glut of ‘shapeshifter’ urban fantasy novels on the market, or I’d never have used the device. The album, and cover, really got me thinking more in terms of the shamanistic legends as the basis for my character. In researching the worlds related to spirit or guide animals, it’s really a mechanism by which we try to understand at our own natures. We have elements of the animal kingdom that influence us, we are animals after all. We also have our culture and the genetic memories of our ancestors. There are also the male and female qualities inherent in each of us. Thinking of ‘shapeshifting’ allowed for all of these things to come into play for me, so in the process of writing the story, a lot of those ‘conclusions’ came out. It’s impossible to put ourselves into the minds of the various beasts. We’re so involved in verbal communications and the electronics of life. I wanted to explore the animal sense where so much of the communication is non-verbal, then relate that as a writer. I dedicated the book to the ‘animals in our lives’. Anyone who loves their pets will understand.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I presented myself with another goal, to write a murder mystery. Agatha Christie did it. Why not me? And of course toss in layers of magic, for what would Fantasy be without it? Those sorts of whodunits have all kinds of suspects and motives and so it presented a new challenge for me as a writer. I hadn’t gone too far along in the plotting before I included the characters of Xavier and Kendra which were introduced in ‘The House on Chambers Court’. They were still fresh in my mind and fun to write, so I kept going with them central to the plot. The story has become “The Masque of Count Milado”. It’s a spoonerism on a Poe title and I’m not changing it. Bibliophiles will laugh. ‘The Masque …’ isn’t a sequel, rather a whole new tale. I’ve just had the second draft returned by my editor, so the final draft is being polished. I hope for its release in Spring 2022.
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The House on Chambers Court by GJ Scherzinger is an engaging and alluring fantasy novel that follows a corporate spy, Xavier, on a perilous adventure. The senator discovers Xavier’s intentions to expose him before Xavier is able to out the senator. On the run, Xavier steals gold and the incriminating documents to out the senator. Drawn into a bungalow by strange music on Chambers Court, he encounters a woman named Tamarina. She sends Xavier on a dangerous quest to steal the book of Undone Deeds in order to free himself.
The House on Chambers Court by GJ Scherzinger is such a thrilling and satisfying read. The author’s writing is expertly descriptive making the reader feel as though they are by Xavier’s side the whole way. Readers are able to imagine the characters and their surroundings because of the detailed writing that sets the scene and develops the character within it. Scherzinger’s inventive writing immediately captivates you and keeps you guessing from the turn of the first page.
The use of magic is something that I really enjoyed in this novel because, although this is a sword and sorcery novel, the magic feels grounded and always felt like there was a system behind it all. All of this ensures that readers are engrossed in the epic fantasy story without ever thinking twice about the magic.
Nestled among the detailed world are some intricately developed characters that continue to grow as the story progresses. I really enjoy fantasy stories that setup characters that are just as intriguing as the mystery they are heading into. The reader becomes invested in the character’s feelings and thoughts so that the surprise ending will hit them pretty hard.
I appreciated that the author shows the reader rather than telling the reader exactly what is going on, giving the reader room to imagine. While the story does feel rather grand, the excellent writing ensures that the pace is consistent and the plot is easy to follow. The theme of enchantment characterized by a cursed grimoire in a way makes me think about the polarity of good and evil, and how there should exist a balance for a society to thrive.
The House on Chambers Court is a fun fantasy adventure novel that will appeal to readers looking for a well defined sword and sorcery story that is elevated by captivating characters.
Pages: 502 | ASIN: B09MY5FQ2K
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The Deck of the Numinon uses a unique idea of a deck of cards being used to set life changing events in motion. How did the idea for this book start?
The idea of a magical deck had been floating around in my mind for years, originally in a Dickensian sort of setting. Admittedly there was a fascination with the occult of Crowley and the mysteries of Tarot and I thought I could turn it into a story. As I developed the theme, I decided the magical world I’d created in my other books was a better theatre for it to play out in.
The Deck was powerful and I realized I needed a powerful force to counteract it. I hadn’t planned on resurrecting the characters of Cerra and the Demon from “Demon of the Black Gate”, but I could hardly do better. Cerra so far has been my favorite character to write and I welcomed the opportunity to give her life again.
Cerra continues to be an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some questions you wanted to explore with her character?
I think one of the reasons I enjoy writing her character so much is the challenge that she presents. Because she is blind, all of her actions depend on the picture her other senses paint for her. In describing a scene as she perceives it, I’m painting with a palette of touch and smell and perception rather than sight. Could I make that vision captivating for the reader? It was an exercise I wanted to pursue when I wrote “Demon of the Black Gate” and it paid off with Cerra. I wanted her to have a sharp, but kindly wit, and she needed to have moxie and imagination, for I’ve often left her in hopeless situations in both books. All of those qualities arose from her being able to overcome her blindness. “I can’t stay here.” became her mantra, the essence of her persistence.
What was a challenge you set for yourself as a writer with this book?
It seems like the biggest challenge is always just getting to the other end. I had a rough outline to work from, but the work takes on a life of its own as it goes along and many avenues cropped up that I hadn’t foreseen. For instance, I introduced cards in the ‘Seer’s Chapter’s’ then realized they needed their own backstory. Before I was done, I had found it necessary to create and write an appendix reference for the cards and their qualities. When I showed the first draft to my editor, she was inspired enough by the story to offer her talents as Illustrator. From then on the book became a work from both of us. Maybe the challenge for me became to polish the story equal to her artwork.
What is the next book that you are working on?
I’m building bones for a more swashbuckling tale, though I’ve always enjoyed a good murder mystery so I am salting that into the mix. The working title is “The Mask of Count Milado”, my apologies to Edgar Allan Poe fans. Like my other books, they grow with the telling. I’ll find out in about a year how it turns out.
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The Deck of the Numinon is an epic fantasy novel by GJ Scherzinger. The story takes place in a mysterious universe surrounded by magic. Where cities battle each other for dominance and control, and in faraway lands women in convents known as Sybellines study magical artifacts and train in the arts of shapeshifting. When a deck of magical cards with the power to manipulate people and time falls into the hands of a player with malicious intentions, cards are drawn and a series of catastrophic events follows. As generals and diplomats from the different kingdoms blame each other for the destruction of the fabled towers of Safrasco and prepare their armies for war. The Standish general Artis Ferriman enlists Cerra, a bling girl of humble means, as his agent at the embassy in order to find the culprit of the attacks. Cerra sets off on her journey, accompanied by her demon lover Yutan. Unaware that both of them represent cards in play. While dealing with diplomatic life and an unexpected loss, she soon finds an ally in Havi, a Sybelline trainee entrusted with the mission of finding the deck and removing it from the player. As Cerra navigates a mysterious world dominated by greed, lust, and betrayal, she discovers that her mission goes beyond spying, she is a player in the game representing The Queen of Quills and must embrace those qualities in order to locate the “seer” and stop the game before she runs out of time.
The Deck of the Numinon is an engrossing and riveting novel. From the carefully detailed world to the incredibly original plot, The Deck of the Numinon is everything any fantasy reader can dream of. Once you start reading, there’s no putting the book down. It never gets mundane as events play out smoothly, each with schemes and backstories left and right. The author does an incredible job of describing characters that are complex and unpredictable. Cerra, the main character, is a pacifist unwillingly thrown into conflict, which makes her fun to follow. She is blind, yet her remaining senses compensate for that loss, which makes for a different kind of power. She feels the world in a way that any reader can relate and connect with on a personal level, I know I did! As for the writing, the story is extremely well planned and portrayed, and really has to be to accomplish such a deep story on an epic scale. But the language used is quite complex and can be hard to grasp, an important observation for anyone looking for a light read. All in all, I highly recommend this book for its originality and engaging plot. I definitely recommend it to anyone that enjoys Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones.
Pages: 562 | ASIN: B08CQ937B4
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With a turn of the cards, a Stone Giant breaks loose from the Granite Mountains, leaving a path of destruction through the Regency of the Stands. The fabled guard towers of Safrasco are destroyed by a sorcerous griffin, the threat of war rising in its wake. Captain Ferriman turns to a blind herb trader named Cerra Meadows in the hopes she can help him navigate the sorcerous paths that threaten the peace of the Empire.
The Cards are drawn, the cast put into play. The Deck is ruled by the majics that created it. Events take on a life of their own, reliant on the strengths and motivations of the players whose avatars are determined by the draw. The Queen of Quills represents qualities that Cerra must embrace in order to discover the identity of the Seer and locate the Cards before her world runs out of Time.